Jake May is the chief photojournalist at The Flint Journal, an MLive Media Group publication, and is a passionate community storyteller. He attended Central Michigan University, and is the president of the Michigan Press Photographers Association, as well as the Midwest Regional Chair for the National Press Photographers Association.
Since 2014, May has intimately covered the Flint water crisis as a resident himself. He tells the story of how the entire city faces an overhaul on its infrastructure because of lead-tainted drinking water, which caused a spike in blood lead levels in thousands of children.
Rather than hopping around news conferences, he pursues access to real lives and moments of those affected by the crisis. He strives to always dive deeper into stories to make emotionally potent images that stay with readers and expose issues happening right in their backyard compassionately.
This year, May received the Barry Edmonds Michigan Understanding Award for his work documenting the people of Flint. His images capture the daily life and struggles of living in one of America’s most violent cities. He shows not only moments of loss and death, but also moments of strength and resilience. In 2015, he was awarded an honorable mention in the Photojournalist of the Year (Small Market) category in NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism contest. He has twice been awarded Photographer of the Year in Region 4.
When he is not capturing life through his lens, this beard enthusiast enjoys fitness, karaoke and cooking. He is a dance fanatic and champion pig wrestler, who also happens to love everything zombie and time travel.